Ascending

Snake

Anticipation is a cold snake
Coiled on a damp rock,
Waiting for the sun.

Anticipation is that moment
Right before your kiss,
When the world spins in slomo…
Our breathing suspended,
Two souls connecting.

Anticipation is the hiss
Of butter in the pan,
The scent of onion in the air,
The meal that you missed,
The text that wasn’t there.

Anticipation is the jagged line
Between bliss and despair,
Hugging the cliff
As the Devil and the deep
Blue sea became one.
Jump, they said,
And I fell.

Anticipation is a broken snake,
Red-eyed, uncurled,
Boiling with rage,
Ascending from Hell.

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Light Paulas

Light

They’re out there somewhere…
Not a hoax
I catch glimpses of their lives
Floating through mine
Via misdirected emails:
The other Paula Lights.

One of them has DISH TV–
That might be nice,
All those channels.
I could watch anything
And everything!
Well, I do have trouble with choice:
This is known.

Another one, married,
Bought homeowners insurance;
They seem like a solid couple,
Smart financial planning.
I was like that once,
With a house and a husband,
Doing all the things
I was supposed to do.

Sad day–
One of the Paulas has a tribute page
Posted for a deceased relative.
The confirmation came to me.
(Please do not reply.)
I probably should have done
Something like that
For my parents.

One shops at Wal*Mart
And I get her alerts,
No way to unsubscribe.
She bought a granite-topped cart,
Which looks pretty cool.
I had a cart once,
In that house with the husband.
They’re convenient, at times:
Carts and husbands.

Fun! One of them just visited
Margaritaville Casino
In Bossier City (Bossier!),
Louisiana.
The casino asked me
If I enjoyed my stay–
I’m sure I did.

These other Paula Lights
Are in the Midwest,
Where I once lived too
Among the blizzards and ‘nadoes.
For all I know,
They’re the same person,
Or maybe they’re reflections of me,
The OP,
Living my parallel life.

~*~

MP5: The Seagull

seagull movie

I wouldn’t have even known about this movie, except for a couple of my eagle-eyed friends having spotted it playing in Irvine earlier and chirping excitedly about it. All of us love Saoirse Ronan ~ the first time I saw her was in Lady Bird, which I thought was fab, but my peeps didn’t get into that flick so much. Anyway, a different friend and I winged our way to Westpark 8 yesterday to check out The Seagull.

First, the acting was incredible. What a cast! Annette Bening. Love her. She was superb as the aging, jealous, petty yet complex matriarch. Saoirse was wonderful. Elizabeth Moss was great. And Brian freaking Dennehy! Everyone else was amazing as well.

Second, the first third of the movie was boring AF. My friends disagree and it’s true I am not known for my patience. But I was literally tapping my foot and yawning. It dragged on and on setting up these characters. This would have worked better in writing. I could totally imagine reading The Seagull as a romance novel and becoming engaged after skimming through the beginning. Country house, games, clothing, flirtations, play within a play, yada, etc.

Third, once things began to happen, the movie fully enchanted me. It was the age-old story, perfectly summarized by the J. Geils Band in “Love Stinks” (“you love her, but she loves him, and he loves somebody else; you just can’t win”), but there are no new stories, so everything depends on how you tell the ones we have. The Seagull is a great one, which we would expect, given that it’s based on the play by Anton Chekhov.

I got confused at the end and thought they messed up the movie, but that was just my brainfog. In my defense, that’s actually happened to me in a movie and the audience began yelling that the film was all screwed up. I took migraine meds yesterday and started taking allergy meds too because I’m tired of being itchy and stuffy along with suffering stabby pain. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to sleep, since that sometimes happens with allergy meds, but my sleep was “normal.”

After I got things sorted out in my mind, all was excellent again. I recommend this movie, as long as you’re chill with a slow start.

Not sure which movie I’ll see next. Not everything plays conveniently to my location.

Still the Same [dating story]

Haven’t poasted one of these in a while, eh? Don’t worry, there are more. That’s a threat and a promise. Better keep checking in. 😉

As always, names are changed to protect the guilty.

This particular story is an example, as if one is necessary, that people don’t change. My vast amount of experience haz taught me very little, but I finally glommed onto that nugget. It’s not 100%, but it’s damned close. If someone does a thing once, chances are good that is who they are. There are exceptions due to extenuating circumstances, but they’re rare enough that we can feel safe using this rule of thumb. Well, I can. Do what you will.

Early into my dating adventures I met a man on OKCupid I clicked with. Let’s call him Bob (for Bob Seger’s song “Still the Same“). Bob was handsome and intelligent. He lived in Los Angeles, but unlike every other man in L.A., he didn’t freak out about the distance and driving on the 405 to meet me. In fact, he approached me on the site. Also, unlike most guys, Bob enjoyed texting and emailing. We exchanged loads of messages without him bugging me for the first phone call. Finally, we did chat on the phone and it went really well. But he confessed something: he wasn’t actually divorced, not even legally separated (though “emotionally” he had been for ages, natch), and he hadn’t even moved out of the house he owned with his wife cuz their finances were “complicated” bla de bla. If I had a dollar for every one of these guys, I could buy a house. Well, maybe a condo. Okay a steak dinner for two. At Morton’s!

I told Bob that I was legally divorced and not interested in dating a married man (BTDT, didn’t get a tee shirt). He understood, but said we should meet anyway “just to see.” I didn’t want to see. What was there to see? I didn’t care how much chemistry we might have over lunch ~ why did that matter? He was still married; he hadn’t even filed papers yet. He said that was imminent, as soon as his wife would cooperate on the money things. Sure. I got that. I said when this happened, and he had his own place, we could haz lunch. We kept interacting online and via text because we had built up a good rapport. But finally he faded away, as they do.

Jump to a year and half later. I was back on OKC. And… so was Bob! At first, I was happy to see him. He had a new screen name and photo. I thought maybe he had divorced and all was cool ~ I remembered our great rapport in writing and got my hopes up for a mo. We began to chat. And… guess what? He had become entangled in an almost identical situation! He was divorced. He had bought a new place. And now he had a new girlfriend living with him, they weren’t happy, and he was already on dating sites behind her back. Ughhh! WTF? Why would he do such a stupid thing to himself?

Because people do what they do. They can’t help it. They don’t change. Except for me: I gave up dating sites and am an exception to my own rule. You can take that to the casino.

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Conflicting Philosophies on Chronic Pain

In honor (lol) of migraine awareness month, here is another poast on the topic.

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There are two basic ways of dealing with chronic pain, and neither is “right” nor “wrong.” They are simply different. One may work for you, or the other might be more helpful. One may be more useful at certain times in your life (say 9-5) and the other at different times (nights and weekends, possibly). I’m just throwing some ideas on the table and clarifying them for myself via the written word, as I do.

1. Fake it ’til ya make it.

This is the traditional approach of visualizing the thing you want (a happy, pain-free existence) by pretending you already have it and smiling, acting cheerful, never mentioning your ailments, etc. Just ignore the throbby slammy hammer pounding itself through your eyeball and soon you won’t even notice it’s there cuz you’ll be having so much freakin’ fun! Seriously this sometimes works for me a little if only because I just don’t even want to talk about the fact that I’m feeling awful (especially in the office), since it doesn’t help anything and why bother; while I might not be chipper I can get immersed in a task, and there are times (if I’m lucky) the pain may subside somewhat.

2. Eff that ~ lying is stressful.

What a relief to read on the migraine site that we don’t have to fake it. As if it isn’t stressful enough to suffer from migraines, we also have to deal with society’s pressure to always be happy and smile. Why? Because we make other people uncomfortable if we don’t. Well, that’s their problem, isn’t it? Our problem is that we’re in horrible pain, nauseated, dizzy, etc. They’ll just have to deal with the fact that we aren’t flippin’ cheerful at the mo. This is my preferred approach outside of work. If I’m in pain, I’m not gonna lie about it to my family and friends. If I need to rest at home, that’s what I’ll do. Why the heck would I lie, say I feel great, go out to a loud, bright movie, and throw up? Dumb!

“Not trying to be positive all the time is a radical act of self-care.” ~ Kerrie Smyres, from the above-linked article.

Menagerie

Shamelessly mirroring one of the blogs I follow, I’m going to combine prompts in a wild menagerie.

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Last night I was riveted to Twitter as I followed the saga of #MPRRACCOON. If you’ve been away from the news, this was about a plucky lil “trash panda” who got trapped on the ledge of an office building in St. Paul, MN, and when some workers tried to rescue her, she scampered onto the UBS tower next door and started climbing up up up. Now, some of you may remember the story I poasted a while back of a raccoon who killed one of our parking lot cats. Since then, I’ve not had a favorable view of the creatures. But all that changed yesterday as I (along with loads of other folks) rooted for the Twin Cities bandit to make it through her ordeal safely. We held our collective breath as she began to climb again, hoping she wouldn’t plummet to the ground. She stopped, went down, and seemed to be done for the night. I went to bed not knowing her fate and checked Twitter as soon as I woke this morning, so happy to see she had made it to the roof!

Speaking of buildings, the other night I had a very weird dream. I was in a house with my daughter and we couldn’t find our cats. So, naturally we decided we needed to look in our other house. I love that in my dreams I have not only one, but two houses! Yay me. We walked outside into the snow ~ apparently it was normal for there to be snow in southern California, but it wasn’t that cold. We didn’t have coats on and just tramped through the snow in our regular shoes. Crunch, crunch. We did remark on it, like oh yeah, it snows now ever since the something. I wish I could remember what “the something” was in my dream. I’m sure it was important. Anyway. We entered house number two, and there were the kitties. But inside this house everything was all snowy. I guess roof construction hadn’t caught up with “the something” yet.

The most vivid dream I ever had was when I was around 7 years old. I was at the zoo and a wolf either got loose from an exhibit or I entered his cage by mistake. He trapped me in a corner and ripped out my throat and I died. I know you’re not supposed to die in dreams, but I did. Then I woke up and had strep throat. This is not to bash wolves. I have huge respect for them and wildlife in general.

That’s it for the prompts, except one, and nope I am not introducing zoobloggery to my repertoire here ~ it’s just a coinkydink that all the snippets have to do with aminals this time. Soon we will be back to noodling about movies, food, and migraines, patting myself on the back again for leaving Facebook and dating sites, whining about writing, etc. You know, all the topics that make this blog so darned irresistible to fans everywhere. Until then… mwah!

Futile Pursuits

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I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the Mark Manson phenomenon. I found his blog ages ago, as I do. At first, I loved him. He was new! He was brill! Then when he become super popular and began charging for his words (NTTAWWT), I viewed those words more critically. Hmm, I thought, he’s actually just recycling stuff advice columnists have said forever but packaging it up in cool terms with swear words. Feh. Also, I was mad because someone advised me not to use F*CK in a title and I listened, but Mark did and his book became a best-seller. We won’t talk about the fact that I never actually finished my book. That’s irrelevant, people!

But lately, in the last year or so, I’ve wandered back into the MM fold like a lost little sheeple. Not really in the fold, more like on the edge of the field, ready to bolt away again at any moment, but… I kinda inadvertently subscribed by email to his newsletter. The free one! Gawd. And I may have the PDF of his free self-help book ready to download in another email. Maybe. Not saying if I do or not. I’m certainly not a stan, just an interested observer. Curious, ya know. He’s interesting. Once, lol, I wondered if Mark was actually a real person or the creation of a marketing team, so I did some sleuthing and concluded that he probably does exist.

Anyway. Point is, this last article from Mark knocked my socks off. I mean, it was the bees’ knees, my friends. The cat’s PJ’s. And the best thing about it? It is only telling you what you already know! But Mark puts together a bunch of disparate things you know in one place and ties them together in a way that makes sense and gives you a clear insight into something really profound: the relationship between effort and reward.

Why The Best Things In Life Are All Backwards” may be the most brilliant piece I’ve read from Mark, and that’s saying a lot. I encourage everyone to read it right now and keep it bookmarked. I intend to reread it many times. The following quote is one gem, and it makes logical as well as intuitive sense:

Pursuing happiness takes you further away from it. Attempts at greater emotional control only remove us from it. The desire for greater freedom is often what causes us to feel trapped. The need to be loved and accepted prevents us from loving and accepting ourselves. — Mark Manson, in “Why The Best Things…”

You need to read the whole piece to really grok what he’s saying. It’s so great, and yet so simple too. That’s what makes it outstanding. I sort of stumbled toward this idea several times when I grew frustrated with my writing and couldn’t bear to do marketing, and then went back to my WIPs but only on my terms, which were pleasure-only. I can’t pursue writing for the goal of making money or selling X-number of books, since that only makes me frustrated and upset when it doesn’t happen. I don’t enjoy writing when I’m pursuing those goals because I’m thinking about them instead of immersing myself in words. I start obsessing about details of marketing and sales instead of points of plot and character or intricacies of rhyme and rhythm. And then I give it all up and watch TV.

There’s so much more to MM’s article ~ I’m just giving you a little taste in my bloggery here. If it doesn’t appeal, check out one of his greatest hits. I’m not getting a kickback. I just think he has some good things to say.

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This poast was inspired by Daily Addictions WOTD: Futile.

MP4: Hereditary

hereditary

 

A little bit spoilery, not a lot. 

Welp, I ended up seeing this movie after all. It received loads of rave reviews, but also the critics warned that it was insanely terrifying, so I was torn. Generally, I avoid horror films, but I have seen a few great ones. A group of friends decided to go last night and I impulsively joined in. One of them is a medical doctor, so I felt relatively safe.

As I drove over to Huntington Beach, “Thriller” played on the radio. Geesh! I haven’t heard that song for ages. I wondered if it was an “omen.” When Vincent Price’s scary laugh reverberated at the end I almost turned around. But no, I bravely (foolishly?) soldiered on and met my peeps. MoviePass asked me for a photo of my ticket this time ~ even they couldn’t believe I was actually seeing Hereditary after the first three “fun” movies I watched on their dime. Well, there you go then. Don’t presume to know me. I am mysterious and unpredictable. Nyah!

I worried the previews would be for terribly scary films, but my fears were unfounded. Just Tom Cruise adventure type stuff. Then the feature began. I made sure to have my hands ready to cover my eyes just in case, but that mostly was not necessary. The movie kept prepping for big drama with ridiculous music, but then nothing would happen. There were no outrageously frightening scenes for a long time. Yes, some yucky stuff occurred, but that’s all. It did give foreshadowing though, so if you see it, pay very close attention. (I missed some.)

I’d like to make a general comment about supernatural evil in fiction. This is an ongoing issue with powerful forces that seem to be able to do all sorts of wackadoo things, make stuff move at will without regard to physical laws, have mysterious signs appear and disappear, kill peeps randomly, etc., and yet… AND YET… these forces need something from humans so badly, just one particular thing from one particular mortal person will suffice and nothing else, and an entire plot hinges precariously on this powerful force subduing said human because complicated. Yah okay, let’s go with that. No prob.

I enjoyed the movie. It was fun trying to figure out what, exactly, was happening. Was it all in someone’s head, or “real?” Which character was sympathetic ~ the mom, the dad, the son? Hmm. It did get scary, of course, but not as scary as I had expected from all the reviews. It wasn’t as scary as, say, The Shining. Neither was it as good. I’m not sure what prompted all the rave reviews, but in my opinion the story simply didn’t hang together and make enough sense to warrant all the fawning. I figured it was just me, so I looked up some explanations this morning to see… and am still unconvinced Hereditary is a great movie.

Good, not great. Scary, not horrifying. You’ve definitely seen better, and scarier.

MP3: Ocean’s 8

O8

 

Fantabulous! No, not the movie; we’ll get to that later. I’m talking about the voodle salad at Whole Foods.

Yesterday, Thursday, I arrived at Bella Terra in Huntington Beach early enough to grab a late lunch, meander around B&N, and see O8. My plan was to have a low-carb salad at Daphne’s Greek Café, but you know what they say about plans. BT was undergoing some remodeling, so I wandered around for a bit, trying to find Daphne’s. Finally, I spied a directory and OMG there was no Daphne’s! Yikes. Sadness. Now what? None of the other casual restaurants looked like they’d have something tasty and low-carb friendly (I don’t eat sushi anymore). So, I figured I’d walk over to Whole Foods, where there would have to be something acceptable among the trendy offerings. Right?

Usually at WF I get a slice of pizza or a dish of pasta or a cookie ~ you know the drill. Heavy on carbs, light on veggies/nutritional value. All that has now been nixed from my slate of choices. I poked around a bit. Not fond of salad bars where peeps are breathing and sneezing all day. The packaged stuffs were too carby ~ sandwiches, wraps, etc. I peeked at the deli counters. Lotta pasta and… ooh, what’s this? Mediterranean salad. I love! Why are they calling it Zucchini Voodles?

OIC. The curly things aren’t noodles ~ they’re zucchini curls. Cute! There must be some machine that voodlizes your foodles. And the rest of the ingredients were totally legit: tomatoes, artichokes, feta cheese, spinach, olives, dressing. I bought a cup of that and sparkling water and sat down. I assumed the salad would be good, but it was wonderful! I’d never have ordered this in my “past life.” I’d have passed it up for something yummy like pizza. But it was so delicious! The flavors worked so well together. I savored that for a while until realizing I hardly had any time left for B&N. Whoops.

Did a quick book browse, then checked into the movie. It was crowded for a weekday, but O8 has been pretty hyped up. There were some good previews I can’t remember and then the main feature began. First, let me say one thing. It’s really difficult to watch Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett now without remembering that article about their penis facials. I mean, obviously the facials work because their skin is super-glowing and beautiful. But still. This knowledge is distracting.

Second, the problem for a movie with 8 (or 11, etc.) main characters is that… it has 8 main characters. These Ocean movies are overcrowded with protagonists, or anti-heroes, to be precise, since we are (may I remind everyone) talking about criminals. I don’t know about you, but I can’t really root for characters committing crimes unless they’re setting to rights a miscarriage of justice, and I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying that’s not what these Ocean movies are about, mainly. They’re about very good-looking people committing crimes, is what.

Third, putting that aside for a moment, I can still have fun with a movie like this if I can let go and jump into it, but that’s difficult when the set-up drags on and on and on. For gawd’s sake ladies just steal something already! Since I’m not a scriptwriter, I don’t know how you make it super-fun for an audience to sit through the minute details of hacking into a computer system or copying a diamond necklace or whatever, but geez they need to spice that stuff up! So boring. Yeah, there were a few funnies, but not enough. And I had the same criticisms about the male Oceans ~ in fact, I dozed off during each one (bought the set at the beginning of the year to prep for O8). Yawners, even with Clooney. I know!

Finally, the action happens and it’s good. Nicely paced (finally). I enjoyed the last third of the movie. James Corden was hilarious as the insurance detective. The ending was fun as well. But overall Ocean’s 8 was a disappointment after all the hype. Certainly not as bad as Life of the Party, but nowhere as good as Book Club.

I’m going to give Hotel Artemis a swerve after the terrible review in the Observer, and while the stellar reviews of Hereditary tempt me, I’m afraid it’ll give me nightmares for the rest of my life, if not heart failure on the spot. Definitely The Year of Spectacular Men next week and then The King! Elvis, baby.

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Whoa. One thing before you go. While looking up the O8 cast to make sure I got Corden’s name right (I didn’t, lol, and fixed it), I noticed that there was a busboy named Michael Gandolfini. Yes, his son. BE STILL MY HEART.

 

Junglewords

jungle

So many have stepped up
To fill the big bloggy boots
Of the Daily Prompt
That it’s become a snakey
Jumbled jungle
Of new words to shake
In the tumblers
Of our minds.
It’s hard to navigate
All the great poasts
In order to find
The perfect word
To choose for today.
I’ll have to chill a while,
Grab a coconut lime drink,
Imagine a tropical isle,
And see what transpires…

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A big thanks to all who have joined the prompt parade! I hope to participate in everyone’s eventually.